Analytical and experimental study of premixed methane-air flame propagation in narrow channels

C. Y. H. Chao, K. S. Hui, W. Kong, P. Cheng, J. H. Wang

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37 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates analytically and experimentally the influence of preheat temperature on flame propagation and extinction of premixed methane-air flame in single quartz tubes with inner tube diameters of 3.9, 3, 2 and 1 mm respectively. The effects of preheat temperature, tube diameter, equivalence ratio and mixture flow rate on the flame speed and extinction conditions are determined. The analytical results show that high preheat temperature of the mixture can effectively suppress flame quenching, and the occurrence of stable solution in the slow flame branch extends the flammability limit leading to possible flame propagation in mini channels. Experimental results confirm that the flame speed increases and the flammability limit shifts toward the fuel lean direction either through increasing the preheat temperature or decreasing the mixture flow rate, or both. Decrease of propagating flame speed is observed before the stoichiometric equivalence ratio at high preheat temperatures. The analytical model provides insights into how propagating flame in mini channels can be sustained; however, the model is only good at predicting flame speed near the fuel lean branch. Influence of Cu2+ ions exchanged zeolite 13X catalyst on flame speed is also addressed. It is noted that the zeolite based catalyst can lower the preheat temperature requirement in order to sustain the flame propagation in narrow channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1313
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number7-8
Early online date13 Nov 2006
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Activation energy
  • Asymptotic analysis
  • Flame speed
  • Flammability limits
  • Narrow channels

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